The 10-Minute Cleaning Routine That’ll Make Your Nights a Million Times More Enjoyable

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Hannah Puechmarin)

I’m the type of person who can’t go to bed with a dirty kitchen. I know that waking up to a mess starts my day off on the wrong foot, so until I get the kitchen in order I can’t totally relax. It feels like there’s something hanging over my head — a nagging feeling that makes watching Netflix or reading a book just a little less satisfying.

Of course, the kitchen, more than any other part of our house, is a total disaster by the end of the day. Dirty dishes, piles of mail and leftover art projects on the countertops, and general debris (shoes, backpacks, broken toys) seem to be everywhere! That’s why I’m always shocked that, once I get started, the cleanup is so quick. No matter how messy the kitchen is, I can almost always get it cleaned up in 10 minutes.

Here’s the 10-minute cleaning routine that’ll make your nights a million times more enjoyable.

1. Wash all the dishes (5 minutes).

Doing this now is key for a few reasons: It’s the biggest cleanup task, it saves you time later, and you avoid attracting pests into your home. Clear the table, get the dishes into the dishwasher if you have one, and wash all the cookware you used to make dinner. Cleaning dishes now saves you time later, because once food congeals onto those plates, it requires more scrubbing to get it off. And while it’s often tempting to let a pot or two soak overnight, I find that soaking it just for a few minutes (or ideally, from the moment you serve the food until dinner’s over) is just as effective. If the dishwasher’s mostly full, start it now. Let any big pieces air-dry.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

2. Clean the sink (1 minute).

Besides attracting pests with food debris, skipping this step lets your sink become a breeding ground for bacteria of all kinds. Quickly give the sink a spray with your favorite cleaner, scrub it, and rinse it out. A sparkly sink is remarkably satisfying.

More on Cleaning the Sink

(Image credit: Diana Liang)

3. Wipe the countertops & table (2 minutes).

Another task that’s easier to do sooner than later: Grab your favorite cleanser and a clean cloth or sponge to wipe any spills and spots off the table and countertop. It’s easiest to do it before they harden and try, and you avoid the risk of stains or etching on these surfaces from foods like lemon, tomatoes, or wine. Plus, there’s nothing left for the bugs to munch on.

(Image credit: Syda Production)

4. Sweep the floor (1 minute).

Critters and general cleanliness are the driving points here, and there’s no reason to track dinner through your home. You don’t need to spend a ton of time on this — just do a quick sweep (pun intended) and get those crumbs off the floor and into the trash.

5. Organize the clutter (1 minute).

Hopefully, you already went through your mail and looked at your calendar before dinner, so you know what you need for tomorrow. Whether you use a basket or just make piles, take a minute to make sense of all the random items that have come into your kitchen so it’s easy for everyone to grab what they need for school or work or to put their stuff away in the morning.

That’s it — you’re done! Follow this 10-minute cleaning routine and your kitchen will be clean in no time, so you can spend the rest of the night on the couch … or in bed.

Pair these 10 minutes with this easy morning routine: Follow This 10-Minute Morning Routine and Your Kitchen Will Never be Dirty Again

What else do you clean at night?